"The Simpsons," the iconic animated sitcom that began in 1989, is known for its exaggerated humor and over-the-top antics.
However, the show's creators have decided to make a significant change in one of its longstanding jokes involving Homer Simpson, reflecting the evolving cultural landscape.
For over three decades, a recurring gag on the show featured Homer Simpson strangling his eldest son, Bart, accompanied by the phrase, "Why you little!"
However, in the third episode of the 35th season, titled "McMansion & Wife," a major shift occurs. When a neighbor comments on Homer's strong grip, Homer responds, "See, Marge, strangling the boy has paid off," and then quickly adds, "Just kidding, I don’t do that anymore. Times have changed."
This change has sparked various reactions from the audience. While some viewers appreciated the update, commenting that it was overdue, others expressed confusion.
Some fans felt that removing the strangling gag, previously seen as cartoonish humor akin to "Tom and Jerry," now retroactively casts Homer's actions as abusive.
The revision of Homer's behavior is not the only change "The Simpsons" has undergone. The show has also addressed the portrayal of Apu, a stereotypical Indian convenience store owner, voiced by Hank Azaria. Azaria, who stepped away from the role in 2020, has expressed regret over playing the character, especially following criticism highlighted in Hari Kondabolu's documentary 'The Problem With Apu.'
These changes in "The Simpsons" illustrate the show's effort to adapt and remain relevant in a rapidly changing social and cultural environment, acknowledging and responding to evolving societal norms and sensitivities.
See the fabled "The Simpsons live-action opening" below: